50 States 2500 Towns 29000 Miles Tons of Fun – Day 148

50 States  2500 Towns  29000 Miles  Tons of Fun

Day 148 – August 26, 2003 – Tuesday

The trip Round America ended this evening at 7 pm when Bozzie Jane and I arrived back at home in Atlanta. Boz picked me up at Hartsfield International Airport.

The flight from Honolulu to Houston was uneventful. I did manage to sleep through most of it. The flight left just before midnight on the 25th (Honolulu time). That’s 6 am Atlanta time. The flight to Atlanta from Houston was equally uneventful. I did, however, continue to be amazed by the complete void of personality demonstrated by every Continental flight attendant that I saw.

We held a press conference in the driveway of our home at 7 pm to announce the end of the trip Round America. Bozzie Jane and Kitty B Kitty were on hand to cover it.

The trip was a big success and a lot of fun. It was also very tiring. It was good to be back home with Bozzie Jane and Kitty B Kitty.

When we originally began thinking about this trip, it was to be just a leisurely vacation to small towns. When I expanded the trip to cover all 50 states, it became much more complicated. When I committed myself to writing every night and processing hundreds of photos every night to entertain our virtual passengers who traveled with us by Internet, it became a serious challenge. Barbara joked on Day 3 that the trip would be a combination of Survivor and Fear Factor. We managed to stay out of harm’s way, but it wasn’t easy to be “on the road” for 148 days. As we talked this evening, I told Boz that I was proud. We accomplished what we set out to do, and it was far better than we ever dreamed it would be. We had something to do with that, though the people we were fortunate enough to bump into along the way were the biggest factors that made the trip truly special.

We did a very good job of following our Rules of the Road. We primarily drove on two-lane roads, so we were able to see the “real world.” We ate where the locals ate, and we consumed a lot of pie — 181 pieces in all. The food was very good; we had only a few disappointing meals. We saw many sights that others miss. We most definitely enjoyed the unexpected. In fact, following tips from people we met along the way or checking out something that we just happened to see or learn about were among the most enjoyable experiences. We tried a lot of new things! We traveled smart, and we preserved the experience — detailed notes on tape, hundreds of pounds of brochures and maps, and 14,341 photos.

When we met artist Judy Van Heist at the Grand Canyon, she asked what our book would be about. I told her that we didn’t know yet; we figured the trip would tell us what to write about. I asked her what she thought we should write about, and she asked “What surprised you?” Many things.

While I had previously been to 48 of the 50 states, we were surprised that there were so many interesting places and sights that we had never seen. The diversity of geography, people, and things in America is truly amazing. Despite all the research we did before the trip, this was still a pleasant surprise to us. It has motivated us to want to encourage others to take advantage of every opportunity to see America.

One of the big questions we had before the trip was answered early and often: There is a kindler and gentler America, and it is alive and well in small towns. We envied people who loved their small towns. If it were not for our family in Atlanta, we would love to live where we could enjoy the kinder and gentler life.

We were surprised to see that America is cleaner than we thought it would be. We were surprised to find so many people with a sense of humor.

We were pleasantly surprised that when we asked questions and listened to people we met, we were usually rewarded with great pie or sights and experiences that we would have missed.

We were surprised to learn some things about ourselves. We enjoyed the odd stuff more than we did the famous stuff. I enjoyed seeing the World’s Largest Ball of Twine more than I enjoyed seeing the Grand Canyon. And while we thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Grand Canyon, I was surprised to find that Big Bend National Park impressed me even more. The trip caused both Barbara and me to realize that we choose to be preservationists; we want to do anything that we can to support the preservation of great old buildings and cultural landmarks.

We were surprised how our trip was so much more interesting and enjoyable because we spoke with people who we never took the time to speak with in the past. We were absolutely amazed by the impact of a string of Mardi Gras beads. The people really made the trip for us.

We were surprised to find that we learned so much, and we learned and re-learned many valuable lessons. We have made a conscious effort to apply these lessons in our everyday life.

The Daily Journal of Round America:

Each day, we collect our thoughts on a web page just like this. We drop in some of the photos from the day. Our goal with the Daily Journal is to write about the towns we visit, the sights we see, the people we meet, and the pie we eat. We write about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going, but we also make observations about what we’ve seen and done as well as about life in general.

You can follow our travels from the Daily Journal section of this web site. Other pages of interest include the running report of “vital statistics” on the Trip Scorecard, our nominations for the Best & Worst of the trip, as well as a rating of the pie we eat. If you’d like to see information for a specific state or town, click here, and then click on the state of interest and the full itinerary is shown.